September 6, 2015

James 2:1-17

“Hospitality without Partiality”

Perhaps you have seen this message on a church sign, as I have: “God shows no partiality, but the sign guy does… Go Riders, Go!” Although the biblical quote, “God shows no partiality” comes from Paul’s letter to the Romans, it is a concept that appears elsewhere, including today’s passage from the letter of James.

Rooting for a particular football team or voting for a particular political party or leader is fine, but James is telling the Christian communities that they need to treat each other, and their guests, and their neighbours without distinctions. There are no VIPs in the Church! Or to put it another way, everyone is a VIP in the Church.

I came across a story some time ago about a pastor who tested his congregation on the very matter that James is addressing. When the people expected their pastor to be on holidays, he dressed up in a disguise with a beard and some old dirty clothes, and he came to Sunday worship to see how he would be received by his own congregation.

I can’t remember exactly how it turned out… whether they welcomed the down-and-out person in their midst, or just awkwardly coped with … Read more »